Earlier this year, Twitter — now known in some contexts while under the controversial leadership of Elon Musk as X — was slapped with a $350,000 fine and held in contempt of court for delays in its compliance with a subpoena demanding information associated with the longtime (though temporarily removed) account on the platform belonging to Donald Trump.
The information on the account was sought amid the investigations overseen by Special Counsel Jack Smith at the federal Justice Department. Trump’s account was reactivated after Musk’s takeover of the platform, though the former president has not returned to his previously extensive use of the site, instead relying on Truth Social, an alternative platform that his team produced after Trump’s removal from mainstream sites following the Capitol riot. Trump used the Twitter profile on a highly regular and frequent basis in the lead-up to the violence at the Capitol, having even infamously encouraged his fans to gather in Washington, D.C., on January 6, where he addressed a large crowd shortly before the Capitol building was breached.
Twitter raised concerns after the federal subpoena with an accompanying order that the company keep its existence secret from Trump, something roughly in line with longtime concerns from investigators about maintaining the privacy of active areas of investigative work. The subpoena and fine stayed out of public view until this week, months after the subpoena’s initial issuance. The site’s battle with prosecutors reached a three-judge panel on the D.C. Court of Appeals, which upheld the decisions from Judge Beryl Howell. The “whole point of the nondisclosure order was to avoid tipping off the former President about the warrant’s existence,” the three-judge panel said, as highlighted by POLITICO.
Recently at issue in the now filed criminal case against Trump that relates to this matter of his post-election conduct has been a possible protective order restricting the former president’s public comments after he continued his characteristically antagonistic tirades on Truth Social.